Sun 18.8. 1 pm

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#the desert as a mirror on society #classic



1960 / Soviet Union

Length: 96 min

Language: Russian

Subtitles: English

Classification: 16


Director: Mikhail Kalatozov

Writer: Grigoriy Koltunov, Valeri Osipov

Cinematography: Sergey Urusevskiy

Editing: N. Anikina

Music: Nikolai Kryukov

Sound Design: Valeri Popov

Production: Bela Fridman

Letter Never Sent

Four geologists are searching for diamonds in the Northern Siberia. After a long and exhausting journey their efforts are rewarded. The diamond mine is marked on a map, that is supposed to be delivered back to Moscow. But on the day of their departure they get blockaded by a bushfire, and a hopeful treasure hunt turns into a battle for survival.

Cinematography is in a major role in this classic piece of Soviet cinema. Cinematographer Sergey Urusevskiy and director Mikhail Kalatozov have created an effective yet subtle visual style that lets you truly feel like you’re at the mercy of nature. The camera follows our heroes from a dense brushwood to a burning forest, and the viewer can almost smell the sweat on their skin or shiver at the wetness of their shoes.

Witnessing such an intense survival struggle, it is easy to let yourself be preoccupied with the plight of the protagonists, but watching Letter Never Sent from the point of view of 2019 puts another spin on their journey. Can you really root for them, knowing what destruction a diamond mine can inflict on the Siberian landscape?

The film will be introduced by Russia-researcher and journalist, Pentti Stranius.


SINFF 2016